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Flood Forces Evacuation of 76,361 in E China

Torrential rains from Thursday to Saturday have left two people dead and resulted in flooding that forced the relocation of 76,361 people in east China.

The flooding in the Chuhe River valley in Anhui and Jiangsu provinces is the worst since 1991, with water levels in some sections exceeding warning levels or even historical records.

The flood crest of the Xianghe River, a major tributary, reached 14.19 meters at 6:00 PM on Saturday in Quanjiao, Anhui, 0.2 meters higher than the previous record high.

The river's flood crest at the Xiaoqiao hydrological station in Jiangsu hit 12.62 meters at 7:33 PM on Saturday, only one centimeter lower than the historical records.

Vice Premier Hui Liangyu has demanded flood prevention efforts be made to ensure the safety of people, railways and key embankments.

The relocations should be properly handled, said Hui, commander-in-chief of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

Downpours swept central Anhui, and central and southern Jiangsu from Thursday to Saturday.

In Anhui alone, more than 24,000 houses were destroyed, 302,667 hectares of crops were flooded, and 76,361 people were displaced, said Anhui provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.

The two provinces have put into use overflow areas. More than 500,000 people, including 7,900 armed police and militia, are monitoring the levees of the river.

Flood control authorities said main streets in Chuzhou city seat was under half a meter of water. The seat of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu, were also inundated in 65 locations.

To slow down the rapid rising of water in Chuhe River, Anhui province has also used four reservoirs to take in flooded water.

According to the Anhui Civil Affairs Department, the downpours had killed two people, and the province reported a direct economic loss of 1.47 billion yuan (some US$209 million).

(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2008)

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